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Three more business leaders will help inform student success, curriculum development and knowledge exchange as new members of Solent's Department of Business and Law Business Advisory Board.

27th June 2023
Business and financeHomepage - News - Standard

Ty Francis MBE, Chief Advisory Officer at LRN, Gemma Lacey, Director Sustainability & Communication at Southern Co-Op and James Welsh, Managing Director at College But Different will be welcomed onto the Board this June.

Head shot of Ty Francis MBE

Ty Francis MBE, graduated from Solent with a business degree in 1995, serving as President of the University’s Students’ Union for two years. He went on to become a successful Business Development Executive, Trade Advisor and Corporate Governance expert at several international firms across the world.

In 2007 he became Vice President of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) where he led the Profit & Loss (P&L) for its governance solutions corporate board member division. In 2014, he was appointed as a Business Advocate to the USA by the First Minister of Wales, to help promote Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) between both countries.

He Joined LRN in 2022 where he leads the company’s worldwide Ethics & Compliance advisory consulting business and corporate governance, ESG and Corporate Board member community outreach strategy. Ty also manages the P&L, revenue and sales operations for the Advisory’s worldwide Ethics and Compliance business, expanding the divisions revenue 300% since 2020.

In 2017, he was appointed as a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) and in 2019 he received an Honorary Doctor of Business from Solent.

Speaking of his appointment, Ty says, “Solent University has played such a pivotal role in my life, both as a student, a Student Union sabbatical officer and now as an Alumnus. I couldn’t be prouder to be part of the University’s Business and Law school advisory board and join such a wonderful and diverse group of individuals who are helping shape the growth, strategy and future of Solent University.”

Gemma Lacey Headshot

Gemma Lacey is a senior leader with over 25 years experience in sustainability and a passion for championing responsible business. She leads sustainability for Southern Co-op, with just under 400 food, funeral, and coffee branches across the south of England, as well as Welcome franchise stores. She has led the development of Southern Co-op’s ambitious science-based climate targets and delivery plan, along with the Society’s wider sustainability strategy which was recognised with a Queens Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development in 2022.

As a member of the Executive Leadership Team, she is also responsible for the Communications, Brand, Press and Customer Engagement functions. Prior to this she led sustainability for leading organisations, including John Lewis Partnership, KPMG and The Body Shop.

Gemma is also an ambassador for the Meaningful Business 100 – an annual celebration of the 100 most socially impactful leaders globally, who are combining profit and purpose to help achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

“Coming from a co-op background, I believe collaboration is the key to success, so I am delighted to be joining other business leaders on the Business Advisory Board and to have the opportunity to play an active role in shaping the University's future,” says Gemma. “I am passionate about sustainability and know the importance of good communications, so I look forward to sharing my knowledge and expertise in these areas, helping the University inspire and create our responsible and sustainable business leaders of tomorrow.”

James Welch Headshot

James Welsh graduated from Solent University with a degree in Business & Marketing in 2004. He is a serial entrepreneur and the owner of several successful businesses including College But Different.

James is an active alumni volunteer, regularly offering guest lectures, business start-up panels, 1-2-1 coaching and mentoring with students, external course panel reviews for business enterprise courses/units and supporting the Solent Sparks Enterprise society. Most recently he was part of the panel who shortlisted entrants for Solent’s Business Pitch Competition in 2022.

In 2016, James won the Enterprise Circle Southern Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Commenting on his appointment, he says, “To be invited back to the University you learnt so much from and has supported the career paths and decisions you took over the professional period of your career is an honour. Walking back into the building still gives me a warm feeling of home and a place of belonging. If I can continue to help support Solent University, it will be a wonderful opportunity.”

Chaired by Pete Markey, Chief Marketing Officer at Boots Wallgreen Alliance, the board brings together senior business leaders with an interest and influence in relevant industries and organisations across the areas of management, entrepreneurship, social media, social enterprise, conservation, consulting, finance, retail, law, property, education, transport, port operations, tourism and global business.

Board members provide input and feedback for both strategy development and operational requirements such as supporting student employability, graduate outcomes, mentoring and ensuring our courses are future-proofed.

Members are also involved in driving knowledge exchange between business and Solent’s student community, sharing their knowledge, expertise and experience through a range of programmes and initiatives. More information about the new Business Advisory Panel and its board members can be found here.

Members of the Business Advisory Board in front of the Pod in the Spark Atrium